This blog is a place to ruminate on the problems of teaching. If I am thinking thoughtfully, my posts will hopefully raise more questions than answers. By problematizing teaching we reflect on those questions that are constantly behind, in front, and at center of everything we do in the classroom. Feel free to comment. I'd love to hear what other teachers are thinking about on these and other issues.
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Recently I was invited to blog on Schoolwide Blog. www.schoolwideblog.com So far, I've posted three blogs on parent involvement in their children's learning. I've enjoyed the process of writing and the responses I've received to my entries. I am limited to approximately 250 words and, needless to say, this has been a challenge. It's not easy saying something of worth in 250 words. I've learned that it's important to be concise and to the point. It's not necessary to say everything there is to say in the world about a topic. In fact, it's better to say just enough to get others thinking. This will help me as I design mini lessons for reading and writing. I tend to want to say and teach too much rather than just enough. Like with this post.
Oh, one last thing. :) Dick Allington will be the newest blogger on Schoolwide Blog. So, tune in if you can.
The I have been dismayed to realize that despite my self-image as a teacher with a learner centered classroom, I am far from truly achieving that goal.
I have been listening carefully to myself lately, and I don't like what I hear myself saying to the kids. Instead of empowering my students to take ownership of their learning, I am still the director on the stage. I still ask leading questions rather than ones that push the learner to figure things out for herself. I realize I often spoon feed my students hopeful that they will give me the answer I'm looking for. An answer that will make my job easier. Answers that will fit with what I expect students to say despite the fact that 30 years in education has taught me nothing if not that students are unpredictable, and if we prepare for anything, that is what we should be prepared for. Teacher
An anecdote. The other day I was talking with a student about the fact that she was abandoning more books than she was finishing. I was as…
Sometimes, I plan too many teaching points for one lesson. For example, instead of focusing on one strategy that students need in order to become more proficient readers and writers, I try to teach several strategies at the same time.
Sometimes, I stretch out a teaching point beyond the 10- or 12-minute time limit I've given myself because I worry that my mini lesson wasn't enough or my students won't have understood what I intended to teach. So, sometimes, I beat the lesson to a pulp one too many times, or forget to have the kids practice the lesson before they go off to read or write. (Asking students to practice a lesson after you teach it, with you right there to observe and help guide students through the process, is very effective. Try not to skip this step!)
Here's an example of a mini lesson that lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in better learning.
My students are in the second round of historical fiction book clubs. In a couple of weeks, we will start …
I want to write a book. A professional book. I think I have a lot to say. I think others could benefit from my experience. After all, I have been an educator for over 30 years.
But, what could I possibly say that hasn't been said before? What new knowledge could I add to the table? Who would even bother to read what I have to say?
These are questions borne of fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being able to complete such a daunting project. (At least, that's what it feels like to me right now.) Fear that I won't make time. Fear that I'll run out of time.
But, over the last couple of days, I've gotten some encouraging words of support from the Innovative Teaching Academy - #ITA17 Facebook group.
You can do it!Write for yourself. But the message that is propelling me forward is this one: It doesn't matter how many times something has been said...each time someone else says it, new people hear it...and that's where you make the d…